Some 262km away to the east from Pohang City, the island of Ulleungdo is where people are living in harmony with the beauty of Mother Nature. This is where sunrise is watched earlier than any other location in the Korean territory. The setting sun seen here is a spectacle, too.
The island can be reached by ship, taking about three and a half hours from Pohang and two and a half from Mukho Port in Donghae City, Gangwon Province. Its locus of administration is Do-dong, where the island tourism starts.
Manghyang Peak and Naesujeon
One of the biggest attractions of Ulleungdo is the grand scenery of the sun rising on the horizon. The observatory located at the top of Manghyang Peak can be accessed by cable car, about 512m-long. Dodong Port and Seongin Peak of the island can be viewed at a glance here.
The path to the Naesujeon Sunrise Observatory, in the meantime, has the form of a tunnel decorated with lots of camellias and rowan trees. It is a gentle slope where two persons can walk side by side. Through the wooden stairs from the entrance to the observation platform, one can get to the deck at an altitude of 440m that shows the beautiful horizon, Gwaneumdo and Jukdo Islands, Seommok, Bukjeo Rock, Jeodong Port and the villages.
This is the only flatland on the island, around 1.5km-wide and 2km-long. The caldera crater in the north part of the peak sank somewhere in the past and then the lava inside erupted to form this crater basin. The village named Nari is located to the northeast of this place and another called Albong, uninhabited now, to the southwest.
Some people had lived here during the Three Kingdoms Period between 4th to 7th centuries A.D., but the Joseon Dynasty kept the place empty for hundreds of years until its 26th king, Gojong, sent some settlers there. The name of the island was derived from one of the greens those settlers subsisted upon.
Currently, the basin is home to various tourist attractions including Tumakjip, Neowajip, Ulleung Chrysanthemum, thyme colony, Yongchulso spring, etc.
Large and Small Islands
Near Ulleungdo are a number of large and small islands. One of those is Dokdo, the easternmost island of Korea. Having the nickname of paradise of birds, it is home to seagulls and flora unseen in inland areas. The entire island constitutes Natural Monument of the Republic of Korea No. 336. It is of high importance both historically and geographically.
The biggest of those is Jukdo, where the same species of bamboo trees growing on Ullengdo are found in large numbers. The name of Jukdo itself has the meaning of island of bamboos. The 207,818m2-wide island is located about 4km away to the northeast from Jeodong Port and now inhabited by two individuals of a household.